SEO and UX: Why They Need to Hold Hands and Play Nice


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Know what Google’s ultimate purpose is? To seek out new pages and improved content and to boldly provide the user with the exact information they’re looking for. That means your pages need to be easy to use and navigate, while being full of evident and relevant information while also enabling the user to get where they need to go. That’s where UX (user experience) meets SEO–two of the top/major ranking factors for Google.

Wanna end up higher on the SERP (search engine results page) food chain? Stick with us, kid. We’ll get you through this.

What Is UX Design?

Have you ever been to a low-budget website for a local restaurant? It’s full of generic pictures that take forever to load, PDF menus you can’t really view properly or search on your phone, and the contact information is hidden three clicks away on the fourth level of website hell.

That’s frustrating, right? Yeah, of course it is.

Compare that to a website like Yelp, or better yet, an app like GrubHub or UberEats. Chances are you might even pay a bit more to order food quickly and conveniently and skip that clunky menu–even if it means sacrificing the world’s best General Tso’s Chicken, which just happens to come from that spot down the street.

But what might have won your business instead on that indie restaurant site? You want to support a small business. You like their food. You’re ready to make the commitment…but the navigational experience on the website is poor at best.

When you’re hangry, that’s a dealbreaker.

Good UX design means that a website is properly designed for the user experience and you can find the information you need.

This varies widely depending on the business and the nature of the information you’re looking for, but ultimately, you should be able to find what you’re looking for one of two ways:

  1. By easily navigating to the information after you type the URL in the address bar
  2. By using your Google-fu (outstanding Googling skills, that is) to produce the website (including blog content)

UX Design is Mobile Friendly–But Wait, There’s More!

UX design works no matter how you view the website, and that includes mobile phones. In fact, 60% of mobile phone users aren’t interested in returning to a company’s website if it doesn’t load properly the first time. Additionally, about half of the Google searches performed in the United States happen from mobile, and searchers use voice commands in that search bar more often than they used to. As nearly half make purchasing decisions using mobile phone search, doesn’t it make sense that your site is mobile friendly?

If that’s not enough to convince you, know that Google’s been mobile-first since 2015 and has added additional emphasis recently. In other words, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll be pushed out of the top ranks immediately.

What Factors Go Into UX Design?

In addition to mobile friendliness, Google has some expectations. They want you to insert meta information, use short, readable paragraphs, answer user queries, include a healthy amount of outbound links to relevant sources, and provide a proper header. They’re kind of the experts, so uh, you should definitely listen to what they’re looking for.

Beyond what you can do, UX design specifically provides a pleasant, Google-approved experience–and creates the quickest path to conversion for your business. Do people usually search for your phone number? Then it should be front and center.

What Tools Do UX Designers Use?

UX designers generally know how to get down and dirty with the oddball cantina band known as website code. They’re responsible for testing your site to make sure it’s viewable on a wide variety of formats. To help, Google’s provided a tool

Even if your site looks fancy and you use a WordPress theme meant for high conversion rates, you don’t know your user’s journey. Hotjar shows you a heat map, letting you know what content your visitors explored, when they clicked, and where they might have failed to complete their journey. Hotjar can also reveal other areas of interest on your site.

Good UX makes the site:

  • Usable
  • Accessible
  • Fun
  • Informative.

The best UX design develops brand favor and loyalty, allowing you to showcase the amazing talent you’ve created.

What Is SEO?

Well, by now we’d hope you know, but if not, here’s what you should understand.

SEO stands for search engine optimization (our specialty). Using keyword research tools, search engine optimizers can identify gaps in your content. They can figure out what your users are looking up to find you. This is known as semantic SEO. 

SEO isn’t spammy: it’s truly informative content, whether that refers to your front page copy or an in-depth blog post. We now use what we call white hat SEO, meaning genuine, intuitive copy without keyword stuffing. If you pull any of that old-school nonsense or sell links on your page, you’ll likely end up in Google jail. Womp, womp.

The very term “search engine optimization” used to make sense–you were trying to appeal to a machine to rank you as a first result. Now, you need to remember that you’re really optimizing for the reader, since Google just wants to please its searchers.

Why Are UX and SEO Important for SERP Ranking?

“I’m not a website designer, I’m a business owner!”

We get that and we hear it often, but with their powers combined, a top copywriter and a UX designer can create some magic. If your copy doesn’t make sense on the template you’ve selected for the site, you can easily see why it is more helpful to have a communicative designer and a mobile-friendly site.

SEO and UX do need to play nicely to achieve a high SERP ranking. What could that look like? It might mean cutting some of your copy and clarifying specific topics in a small amount of space – or it could mean posting to a blog all about your area of expertise. Most of all, make all of your words necessary. Don’t be unnecessarily elaborate. 

How Do You Achieve a UX / SEO Harmony?

There’s a short answer to this one: whether you hire an expert or go it alone, you need to figure out what your buyers want (out of all products or services you sell). Then you have to ensure your behind-the-scenes info is correct. Make sure to include internet-optimized copyright-free images, too, and label them properly.

Once you combine these forces, you’ll be able to see how they go hand in hand. Users want information, but they want blog content to see that you’re on the top of your game.

Front pages are the biggest area of contention between many project owners and freelance designers. That’s because they’re designed to have just the basics, encouraging a click through. Smart marketers test what works and rearrange menu buttons all the time.

Are you ready for some help with UX design and SEO? We can definitely help with a website build, content, or UX optimization. Reach out today and let’s get your competition dominated.

About the Author

Sam Romain

Sam Romain

Digital marketing expert, data interpreter, and adventurous entrepreneur empowering businesses while fearlessly embracing the wild frontiers of fatherhood and community engagement.

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